Wednesday, April 30, 2008

hair's to a new look

i'm not afraid to do crazy things to my head. the above pic is my hair two years ago, copied from a kate beckinsale look that i liked. i loved how it looked but the bleaching was hard on my naturally curly hair.

i've also dyed my hair strawberry blonde and eggplant. i have bright blue and bright pink clip ins for when i'm feeling especially festive.

the time has come for change, so i've been scrutinizing various celebrity do's to see what i like. at the moment i'm totally dark brown, which is a crowd-pleaser, but i'm ready to do something new.

here are the two finalists whose color i may copy...

i like the dimension of fergie's hair. mine is not that long yet (working on it), but i'm thinking i could leave the bottom part of my hair as it is and do a partial highlight on the top.

or....brace yourself....i also like....

i KNOW this has to be a wig. all of cher's hair is. how come all the cool hairdo's are wigs?? anyway, this is funky and SHINY. i like it! the color is horizontal instead of vertical, and it's different.
i'm sure my stylist will raise her eyebrows if i show her that pic.....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


i am LOVING the architecture of some of the fall 2008 shoes. they are works of art for your feet!

the ones you see are prada. gorgeous!!!


i have learned a valuable lesson.

yesterday and today were the first time in over a year that i had gone anywhere without any makeup. i had been very diligent about it for two reasons: one, i have too much makeup that needs used and two, i don't ever want to run into anyone and wish i had looked better. even on lazy days, i put on at least a little bit if i'm going to see anyone.

this was moving week for me, and since i was tired and frustrated and everything had to be packed...i neglected my appearance. it won't happen again.

yesterday, the movers were cute. i hoped that my bronze skin and my white teeth might blind them to the fact that i looked like a hot mess, but i was painfully aware that i didn't look so good.

today, i ran into a zillion people i knew. my hair was in disarray, my outfit was in shambles, my hands and toes were a WRECK, and i ate lunch at a place where business-class people go for lunch. they all looked so put together and i looked practically homeless.

i'll work on perfecting this, but here are the few things i wish i would have taken the time to use the past couple of days. i wouldn't have gotten my red-carpet look on, but just a few things could have made a vast improvement on my nearly naked face.

Clinique High Impact Mascara-i got this as a sample and i use it for a more casual look. it makes my lashes a little longer and feathery...not high-impact as the name implies, but a subtle difference.

Bourjois Lip Stain Pen-this would have put some long-staying tint on my lips and made me look less like a zombie.

Cargo Bronzer-on my lids and cheeks, for some added color.

this is where the importance of good skin care comes in. if your skin is behaving, you can go without foundation in a pinch, and bring the attention to other areas, like your eyes or lips.

i also plan to pack a better "emergency" kit for my purse, so that i can be better prepared for public appearances. you just never know who you might run into.....

Friday, April 25, 2008

it's cool to be plump

no matter what you slather on your lips, you won't be angelina jolie.

however, having full, pouty lips never hurt anybody, either.

i've tried several. some people have issues with the way plumpers make your lips feel. these products cause your lips to swell, so i think it's strange to think that the experience would feel great. some are just a tingle, and some produce more of a burning sensation. if you're willing to deal with a bit of initial discomfort, you can have a rather plump payoff.

DuWop Lip Venom is a good one, because it not only plumps your lips, it's a long-lasting effect. i have the clear one, but i'll probably end up getting one of the ones with shimmer. it takes a minute or two to warm up, but when it's in full throttle, you KNOW your lips are pouting.

Urban Decay's Big Fatty Lip Plumper revs up quicker, but it's not as long lasting. i find myself reapplying more often. however, Big Fatty has some really pretty gold shimmer to it that compliments a lot of glosses.

Patricia Wexler's No Injection Lip Plumper is pretty effective, but i'm not even sure if it's in circulation anymore. it used to be at bath and body works.

it's criminal that i haven't tried Fusion Beauty's Lipfusion XL. i'll be honest...i'm scared to death that i'll love it, and i won't be able to settle for anything else, except it's FIFTY DOLLARS. i heard a rumor that they are bringing the line into Dillard's, which means i'll have to cave in at some point.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

product crush....surreal skin and smashbox photofinish

i never thought that a powder could do the things that a liquid foundation effectively did.

when mineral makeup first became the rage, i figured anything that it could offer would be sheer and not hold up well. i'd have to keep reapplying, and my skin would look all cakey and wierd.

i finally caved and tried a mineral powder foundation, and i'm now a convert!

my pick is Urban Decay Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup. it has less mica than some other mineral brands. mica is one of the ingredients that can give your skin a glow, but for an oily-skinned gal like myself, less mica works better.

i love so many things about this product. it evens out your skin, gets rid of shine, blends well, doesn't require a lot for coverage (but is buildable if you require more), stays all day....i could go on.

i've been trying different primers underneath it, as well. Smashbox Photo Finish Light Foundation Primer makes your face an ideal canvas for whatever comes next. it reduces the look of pores and other little imperfections. i intend to try some other mattifiers as money and opportunity permits, but so far i'm very impressed with smashbox. i chose the light primer because it's oil-free.

some day i'll blog about my step-by-step morning face routine :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

fragrances: second chances and breakups

it's so disappointing when you are convinced you are going to love a fragrance and then you don't. it can smell awesome on another person and get great reviews, but when you put it on yourself, it loses it's magic. sometimes it even becomes repulsive!

i want to like "clean". it's all over hollywood. however, on my skin, it turns sharp and almost sour...and i'm left more with the chemical smell of a cleaning agent than a fresh out-of-the-shower smell. i tried "sweet layer" and when i asked someone else's opinion, i was told i smelled like pledge (the spray you dust with!).

a lot of florals turn sharp on me, which is why i usually steer away. any significant amount gardenia or jasmine makes my nose burn in have no idea how many fragrances that rules out! versace's "crystal noir" is an exception, being mainly gardenia and amber. i don't know how it made it past my gate, but it's gorgeous.

lately i've been reminiscing about old fragrances. nothing recently released is grabbing my attention, and so i start reflecting and revisiting some old familiars. it's interesting how one's taste can change...i'm finding that some scents i used to be wary of are catching my interest. if i had a magic wand, i would give myself the following three fragrances right this minute:

-chic by carolina herrera. i actually have a small bottle of this that i'm trying to ration. (mandarin flower, orange flower, absolute, Bulgarian rose petals, red freesia, sandalwood, vanilla absolUte, white musk).

-ck be. it used to be worn by a friend of mine and i didn't like it then. i just tried it on this weekend and rather enjoyed it. it's deep and husky and a little masculine, but it's a fabulous clean skin smell. (Bergamot, Juniper Berry, Mandarin, Mint, Magnolia, Peach, Sandalwood, Opoponax, Tonka Bean).

-truth by calvin klein. i stopped wearing it because it left all the department stores. you can still get it online, and i should buy it. i got a ton of compliments with it. it's this fabulous herb-y, wet woods scent that they also sold in an oil, which was a little sweeter. cocktail the two and i can't stop smelling myself!(Bamboo, patchouli, vetyver, wet woods, white peony, white clover and sapling, bio vanilla, white amber, silk tree flower, acacia flower, woods and musk).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

product lust.....philosophy skin care

the curse of being addicted to beauty products is that sometimes we want to fix it when it ain't broke.

case in point: i use clinique's popular 3-step as my skin cleansing routine. they were the ones who actually proved to me that oily-skinned girls need a moisturizer. i also use their 7 day scrub. all the products that i use do a perfectly adequate job, and their price definitely appeals to me.

and yet, i really want to try philosophy.

my friend, beauty queen, insists that a good cleansing routine is the key to a perfect face. it's pointless to put $1000 paint on a bad canvas, and that even cheap makeup will look great when the canvas is right. since she's got the degree and i don't, i believe her. plus, you have to wear less coverage when you aren't self-conscious about your skin.

i'm going to enlist beauty queen's help in selecting the perfect cleanser and moisturizer, but here are some other philosophy products that i can't wait to try:
-the microdelivery peel
-booster caps
-the microdelivery mini peel pads
-on a clear day h2o2
-the oxygen peel
-the microdelivery exfoliating cloths
-never let them see you shine velvet touch primer
-never let them see you shine scrub

Friday, April 18, 2008

product test drive....High Resolution Eye Collaser-5x

i'm fighting the clock as hard as any other girl out there...i don't want my skin to show age, or stress, or anything else! i've been scouting out anti-aging products since i was 25, always peering in the mirror looking for an unwanted line.

i can admit that i don't follow all the rules that are out there about how to stay wrinkle-free. i'm not ready to give up my tan just yet. however, i am constantly slathering my face with something that will (hopefully) reduce the damage.

my most recent find was High Resolution Eye Collaser-5x from Lancome. it's claim is to fight wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles. my main mission when purchasing an eye product was one that put up a phenomenal wrinkle fight and could be worn successfully under makeup. i knew a good eye cream would be pricey.

this is a winner, i do believe. money well spent!

i've worn it day and night (sleeping and under my makeup) for about a week, and i notice a difference in the lines around my eyes! i do feel like my eye area is lightened, which must be the reduction of my dark circles. i've inspected my skin in my bathroom light and in natural light, and the lines have disappeared!

one squirt covers both my eyes, so this bottle will last me for awhile. who knows, i may end up investing in the serum for the rest of my face as well!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

brush off

tha brushes

there is something about owning a good set of brushes that makes you feel like you take your cosmetics seriously.

my first major brush investment was a foundation brush from lancome, about years ago. it was a much higher price than i wanted to pay, but the salesgirl assured me it would be worth it. she was right.

if you wear liquid foundation, applying it with a brush changes EVERYTHING. the application is more even, the whole process is less messy and a lot faster, and it just plain feels luxurious. i recently have gotten away from liquid foundation, but i'm not sorry i have that marvelous brush.

i soon realized that there were other tools that might improve my routine. some makeup already comes with brushes and applicators, but having your own makes that product your own. you know what the brush will do, and how much color it will put on you. you are in control.

i won't list brands because i plan to upgrade one day, but here are types of brushes that your makeup bag ought to have...

-a big, fat blush or bronzer brush
-a smaller blush brush (for contouring)
-a powder brush (awesome for applying mineral powder foundation!)
-a shadow brush (it wouldn't hurt to have more than one of these)
-an eyeliner brush (for turning shadows into liners and putting on cream liners)
-a stiff-bristled brush (i use mine to blend my eye colors together when i'm done)
-a foundation brush (if you wear liquid foundation)

it's important to keep these clean, since they can collect facial oil and other gunk that can cause breakouts. i wash mine with antibacterial soap and hot water, and then i lay them out on a towel to dry. i don't set them upright while they dry, since the water can drip down and cause the bristles to separate from the handle. some brushes require more gentle care, if you have a pricey brush made out of something like squirrel eyelashes (just kidding, but there are some fancy brushes out there!!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

the best hairsprays on the planet (and the hair i wish i had)

this is natalie dormer, who plays anne boleyn on "the tudors". she has the most gorgeous head of hair on the planet. it's probably a wig or a weave. i still want it.

which brings me (in a wierd way) to my favorite hairsprays. for a hair product to impress me, it has to smell good AND perform. i like my hairspray to hold. some prefer to have "touchable" hair, but i had to choose between the feeling and the look because my hair is curly. for me, my hair can either be soft/touchable/frizzy or slightly crunchy and frizz free. i'm okay with the trade off.

-Sebastian Shpritz Forte. this is the best holding spray i've ever encountered, and it smells awesome.

-Bed Head Maxxed Out Hair Spray. this holds nicely and has a groovy fruity smell. hooray for fruit on your head!

-Aveda Brilliant Hair Spray. Nice hold and definitely the best smell out of the bunch. when i have this on my hair, i am constantly putting my hair under my nose because my hair smells heavenly.

product lust...stila lip rouge

we've established that i like things that stick. i've been pretty faithful to my bourjois lip stain pen (which looks marvelous under every lip gloss i have).

many lip stains i've tried are tricky to apply evenly, turn a hideous brown on me, or simply don't stay put as they promise. almost every line has a lip stain, but i'm skeptical.

stila lip rouge is on my list of things to purchase next. it's easy to apply (like a marker), has a good color selection of both bold and natural shades, and stays. no, scratch that, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to remove. i streaked the back of both my hands experimenting with the colors and it was still there two days later, after multiple washings (with antibacterial soap) and showers.

i'll purchase "smooch" or "grin".

i can't wait to see how it holds up after a long day and eating greasy food. but after it's performance on my back of my hand, i'm pretty confident that it will stand it's ground.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

product test drive.....reluctantly, armani diamonds

i try to stay away from celebrity-endorsed fragrances. more often than not, the chosen celeb doesn't reflect my personal style. it's an ingenius marketing ploy to use celebs, since many people see them as familiar and think that they relate even further if they are doused with britney spear's "fantasy" or hilary duff's "with love".

i have enjoyed lots of armani's fragrances. without a doubt, "mania" is among my favorites's this gorgeous, warm blend of citrus and woods, and there is an element in it that makes me want to wear sweaters and walk in the forest. sensi was fabulous as well....a sultry, mature vanilla that was sweet enough to draw you in, but not so sweet that you felt like a high-schooler. "she" always went too powdery on me, but i had a friend who wore it and it smelled amazing on her. i didn't care much for "code", but i was excited when i heard about the release of "diamonds", until....

beyonce headlined it.

i have no problem with beyonce, she's just not my style. too much bling and extravagant bodaciousness, rhinestone encrusted and frivolous. she wears me out, god bless her. she made me turn up my nose at diamonds from the start, and i was determined not to like it. somehow, putting certain celebrities as the face of a fragrance cheapens it for me. i almost can't get past it.

i got a sample of it, and the sample and i have been exchanging glances from across the room.

"wear me, just once", says the sample.

"nope. i don't like beyonce".

"i have patchouli and cedar wood and vanilla. you like those things."

"i sniffed you. you weren't that great."

"you didn't even give me a chance to dry down!! put me on."

i wore it while i packed up boxes. and i regret to inform you that i don't hate it. the dry down is rather pleasant, and cedar is one of my favorite components of a fragrance. i'm not running out to buy a bottle (the beyonce thing throws me off still), but i may take the sample out for a better test drive this week.

the smell of famous

would you like to smell like a star? this is the best list i've ever found, and it gets updated frequently. check it out here.

take it all off, baby!

i look ardently for products that stay put all day long. when i apply at 6:30 in the morning, i expect it to last until i'm home again, which could be after 9:00 pm!

i know it sticks. but how do i get it to come back off???

the right eye makeup remover can totally streamline your routine. if you apply long-wearing or waterproof makeup, trying to clean your face with the wrong makeup remover can be very frustrating. you could be scrubbing for DAYS, and that's not good for your skin. i once bought makeup remover that wasn't waterproof (i thought it was), and after using it twice i simply gave up and cut my losses.

here are my favorite makeup removers, in order of preference:

-Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover. it's pricey ($26.00) but it really is the best. it takes off every bit of mascara, eye shadow, even glitter. it also doesn't leave your eyes in a pool of oily residue, which is good when you are taking off old eye makeup and plan on putting more right back on in a few minutes.

-Sephora Face Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover To Go. for $6.00, it gets the job done. it takes a few more swipes, but it is also good at not leaving residue.

-Almay Moisturizing Eye Makeup Remover Liquid. this is my pick when i'm nowhere near a department store or a mall that has a Sephora and i'm desperate for eye makeup remover. it does an okay job of removing, but out of the three, this one leaves a lot of oily remover behind. i don't mind it if i'm getting ready for bed, but if i'm simply redoing my eye makeup i have to wait to mop everything up. it's definitely affordable, though.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

product test drive....kenzo amour indian holi

i got a sample of Kenzo Amour Indian Holi last week.

it's not what i expected-i thought it would be a heavy, thick, wooded smell. at first sniff, it's all berries and floral. but just when you want a break from it's perkiness, the musk sweeps in and quiets it down. it's feminine and youthful, but manages to have this dark mystery underneath it. but for my taste, not enough mystery. i'd like to see more of the dark side of this fragrance.

it's pleasant enough, but not as interesting as you want it to be.

some say that indian holi didn't last well on them...i found it's staying power to be acceptable. i expect that this one, while an improvement on lots of the new releases out there, won't endure on the shelves too long.

highlighting highlighters

highlighting an area is entirely different than slapping glitter on it, as any true glamourista knows. while the best highlighters have some shimmer or iridescence to them, they are more subtle, while glitter demands to be seen. they come in powder and liquid form, and they are a must-have in any arsenal.

highlighter is the fairy godmother of the cosmetic universe. it sculpts your face and tricks the eye!

it can make you look more beautiful, more awake, more radiant, glowing with that certain "something" that people can't put their finger on. you'd like to attribute it to your days/weeks/months at a health spa and an obscenely healthy diet, but it's really just your highlighter.

so, what do you do with it?

-your browbone (right under the eyebrow)
-the inner corners of your eyes
-your cheekbones (the apples only)
-your cupid's bow (that little indentation above your upper lip)
-the center of your lower lip

celebrities (and other people, i'm sure) use the magic of a good highlighter all over their bodies. in the right hands, it can be used to de-emphasize a large nose, to play up small lips, to give them abs that they don't really have, create sculpted arms, and to make their legs look loooong. makes you wonder what they look like without all that, doesn't it?

it's important to create a balance between your highlighter and everything else on your face, as is the case with all makeup. too much of that certain glow could backfire and turn you into an overdone christmas ornament. girls with oily skin have to be especially careful, since you are already fighting the shine battle.

Here are a couple that i've used:
*Estee Lauder Ideal Light Brush On Illuminator
*Dior Skin Flash Radiance Booster Pen
*Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator

Thursday, April 10, 2008

you never forget your first....

this was my first "expensive" perfume. it was loud and proud, and it flung me headfirst into years of fragrant hunting, trying to pin down scents that fit me. i didn't even really like it back then...i just liked the name, i think.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a few VIPs

i have a lot more than these items in my arsenal, but these are the VIPs (very important products) that i couldn't possibly live without! i get crushes on things, and trends come and go, but i use these almost everyday.

-Diorshow Black Out Mascara-this would be my only mascara if it came in waterproof! It thickens, lengthens, curls, and your lashes almost look wet. it's buildable, which means you could keep coating it on as much as you'd like. amazing stuff, and i almost didn't buy it because it's not waterproof. it still stays pretty well, and never flakes. but when i need waterproof mascara, i pick...

-Diorshow Waterproof Mascara in black. does what blackout does, but the color is less intense. it's also less buildable, but just a few coats still does the trick.

-Lancome Cils Booster XL. if you put this under blackout, you won't need fake eyelashes. your lashes will be unbelievable.

-Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. i have oily eyelids, so i need something that makes my eye makeup stay put, and this does it. my eyes look the same at the end of the day as when i first applied. no creasing, no sliding, this stuff is my lifesaver. it's pointless to spend any money on eyeshadow if it won't stay on, and this stuff makes sure my money's not wasted.

-Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in jet black. i was nervous because it's not a pencil. it's cream liner you put on with a brush, but it's not difficult to master. i use this almost every day, and it does not budge. cry, sweat, do whatever you want, but this stuff is on your eyes until you take it off, and i love that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

my ten warm weather scents....for now

here are ten scents that will be getting me through spring and summer (in no particular order):

1. burberry summer
2. ed hardy
3. yves st. laurent babydoll
4. estee lauder bronze goddess
5. stella by stella mccartney
6. lancome tropiques
7. flirt! glamourazzi
8. escada sunset heat
9. alfred sung paradise
10. alfred sung bijou

the list is subject to change, of course, because i have a wee habit of buying new scents.....

product lust.....philosophy senorita margarita and bubbly

i'm a sucker for anything that smells delicious. even if i already have a zillion shower gels and body washes (at last count i was over twenty, i should take four showers a day!), i can't resist.

enter philosophy's "senorita margarita" and "bubbly".

the first is wonderfully limey and has a complimenting hot salt scrub that's scented the same way. you can almost smell the salt in the margarita because it's so close to the real thing. plus, you can use it as a shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath.

the other, "bubbly", is like champagne for your body, and it smells like a celebration. it's fruity without being syrupy sweet. you will literally smell intoxicating.

i can't see myself getting through the summer without these...i gotta go buy some!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

product test drive....matrix curl life re-activator

as a curly-haired gal, i have tried a zillion different products. my hair has a mind of it's own, so even when a product says it's for curly hair, i have to proceed with caution. the market is finally paying better attention to those of us with a medusa mane, but finding new products is still a chore.

i am a big fan of the matrix line already. the conditioner and spray gel smell good and do their job, but i was still skeptical about a curl reactivator. the whole concept, while it would be amazing to pull off, seems impossible. to make your curls seem as fresh as they were at the beginning of the day? dream on.

i used the reactivator. my curls were not as fresh as they were at the beginning of the day (or the day before..., but when i put a bit of water in my hair and then sprayed the product, my hair did improve.

if you are a texture person who insists of having soft/touchable hair, you won't like this product. the product isn't sticky, but when you "reactivate", all the products you put in before seem to reactivate as well. i'd say the reactivator is a lifesaver when you don't have time to go through your entire hair routine.

i'll give it a B. it's not a miracle spray, but it will stretch your hairstyle out in between washes.

product cocktail...cupid's bow and trixie

i am notorious for combining product lines in a completely irreverent way. today's little experiment was courtesy of my personal stylist, beauty queen (who also happens to work for...a place where i can buy all this stuff. how lucky am i?)

first, she applied benefit's cupid's bow lovely lip-shaping set, highlighting the outline of my lips as well as inside the lip line. then, she applied bare escentuals buxom lips in trixie.

cupid's bow might be a little tricky to self-apply at first, since you are basically contouring your lips as you would your cheeks or eye area. blending is the big key to pull it don't want to look like an early 90's latinesque drag queen.

this is one of my favorite lip looks i've ever had put on me. it's a pretty, polished look that lights up your face, instead of putting your lips on center stage. perfect for warm weather!

buxom really does plump my lips, has a nice tingle and it smells like the beach!

i bought the gloss, but they were out of cupid's bow. it figures. i WILL be back to buy it when it's in stock.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

test driving....Skinny Dip'n in Lake Michigan

with spring approaching, i went on a quest for a good nude nailcolor. nude is harder to pull off than what you might think for lips AND nails, but i had heard good reviews about OPI's Skinny Dip'n in Lake Michigan. it's a peachy-brown nude with subtle sparkle.

it's hard to give this a grade, because it depends entirely on what you want this nail polish to do for you.

as OPI always does, it delivers even coverage and quick drying. with one coat, you get a nice "blur" on the nails so that they look manicured, but almost any beige/pink sheer polish in a french manicure kit can do the same thing.

here's my two main problems with this polish: i wish there were more sparkle, and using more than one coat turned orangey on me (as it did for the beauty couch )

i'll give it a C, because i'm not in love with it, nor do i despise it. i find it average.

is it even possible to be in love with a nude? my quest continues.....

Friday, April 4, 2008

product honey

Available only on sephora, it's a 5 piece set "based on Clinique's cult-favourite Black Honey shade of Almost Lipstick".

i got black honey last year when clinique was in gift. and when i took off the lid, i was a little frightened because it looked SO dark. my worries subsided when i put it on, because it shows up as the prettiest sheer stain that looks good on literally every person. i still have plenty of it left, but what excites me most about this palette is the limited edition eyeliner and mascara, both in "black honey". i imagine that would make a killer smokey eye look.

it's only $25.00 for all five....maybe if i save my vending machine money....

the glamourista, introduced

i have always had a beauty product addiction. hair stuff, lip stuff, eye stuff, and worst (best?) of all....perfume.

since age ten, i've probably never owned less than ten perfumes. or ten lip glosses.

over the years, this insatiable hunger for all things smell-good, soft, or sparkly has overtaken my bathroom and parts of my bedroom. my style has evolved, and my products have evolved with it. and, as if to feed the beast, they keep coming out with new products and convincing me that i need them. i'm a sucker for packaging and marketing.

i'll try almost anything once. but i'm a harsh needs to do it's job or it becomes dead to me. i'm only faithful to things i love.

combine my need to look pretty, my lust for products, and my lazy streak and you've got quite an interesting cosmetics customer. i want to look amazing, and i don't want to spend hours doing so.

this is my addiction unleashed into the blogosphere. welcome.